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HANK WILLIAMS

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

GILLIAN WELCH

“Scarlet Town”

TRADITIONAL

“The Parting Glass”

...and more

5

SONGS TO PLAY

F O R E V E R Y P L A Y E R I N A N Y S T Y L E

AcousticGuitar.com FEBRUARY 2012

G

ILLIAN

W

ELCH

R

ETURNS

with the Album of the Year

How to Use

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Gear Reviews

MARTIN 0-28VS

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19

THE BEST

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ALBUMS

OF 2011

LESSONS

Creative Chord Voicings

Slide Guitar Basics

Walking Bass Lines

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songs to play

12

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

Hank Williams

14

“The Parting Glass”

Traditional, arr. by Danny Carnahan

50

“Scarlet Town”

Gillian Welch

88

“Blues in the Kitchen”

Sean McGowan

90

“Spanish Harlem”

Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector,

arr. by Kinloch Nelson

FEBRUARY 2012 VOL. 22, NO. 8, ISSUE 230

COVER: GIllian Welch and David Rawlings.

Photo by Thomas Alleman

THIS PAGE: Inside Gryphon Stringed

Instruments. Photo by Grant Groberg

GEAR

SHOWCASE

page 72

departments

16 PRIVATE LESSON

Creative Chord Voicings: Sideman

extraordinaire Mark Goldenberg on using open-string drones and reharmonization to spice up chord voicings. With the

Lick of the Month. By Teja Gerken

NEW GEAR

22

Martin 0-28VS: A reissue of Martin’s classic

rosewood small-body impresses with vintage vibe, modern features, and muscular tone.

By Stevie Coyle

26

Traynor AM Custom Amp: Powerful,

feature-laden, multiple-input amp with woody and warm sound. By Adam Perlmutter

30 IN THE STORES

32 PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

Sidi Touré: No relation to Ali Farka Touré,

but no less of a talent, Sidi Touré contributes his own style to a long tradition of brilliant Malian guitarists. By Sarah Welsh

36 HERE’S HOW

Effective EQ: How to use graphic and

parametric EQs to adjust your guitar’s amplified sound. By Doug Young

40 THE BASICS

Accuracy and Tone for Slide Guitar:

Get started on slide guitar with these simple note-targeting exercises. By Orville Johnson

SHOPTALK

80

Charles Freeborn Guitars: Portland, Oregon,

luthier fuses innovative designs with traditional building techniques to create sleek, unusual shapes and sizes. By Andrew DuBrock

82

Goin’ to Woodstock: North America’s finest

guitar makers gather for the 2011 Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase. By Teja Gerken

84 WOODSHED

Building Bass Lines: Learn to craft jazzy

walking bass lines and work them into your solo fingerstyle accompaniment. By Sean McGowan

98 GREAT ACOUSTICS

2001 Andersen SilverLine. By Baker Rorick

in every issue

8

Editor’s Note

10

Music Notation Key

94

Marketplace

97

Ad Index

= see video at AcousticGuitar.com = hear audio at AcousticGuitar.com

AcousticGuitar.com 7

February 2012 ACOUSTIC GUITAR

44

The Long Harvest

After eight years of stops and starts, Gillian Welch and partner David Rawlings return with a starkly beautiful set of songs.

By Derk Richardson

55

Essential Acoustic

Albums of 2011

The albums released in 2011 that Acoustic Guitar’s editors and contributors found themselves returning to time and time again.

66

19 Shopping Tips

Smart guitar-buying ideas from five well-known guitar shop proprietors.

By Jason Borisoff

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EDITOR’S NOTE

GOT A QUESTION or comment for Acoustic Guitar’s editors? Please send an e-mail at

editors.ag@stringletter.com or snail-mail Acoustic Guitar Editorial, PO Box 767, San Anselmo, CA 94979. We regularly print reader letters in our Mailbag column.

TO SUBSCRIBE to Acoustic Guitar magazine, call (800) 827-6837 or visit us online at

AcousticGuitar.com. As a subscriber, you enjoy the convenience of home delivery and you never miss an issue. Sign up or renew your own subscription now and you can also purchase a gift subscription for a friend. A single issue costs $6.99; an individual subscription is $39.95 per year; institutional subscriptions are $39.95 per year. Foreign subscribers must order airmail delivery. Add $15 per year for Canada/Pan Am, $30 elsewhere, payable in US funds on US bank.

ONLINE If you’re a subscriber to AcousticGuitar.com or a member of the Acoustic Guitar Club, you already have access to our

exclusive online content. Don’t know if your subscription allows you access to AcousticGuitar.com? Get in touch with us at subs.ag@stringletter.com.

BUY MUSIC Buy songs featured in Acoustic Guitar at AcousticGuitar.com/MusicInAG.

ACOUSTIC GUITAR NOTES All subscribers are eligible to receive our free daily online newsletter, Acoustic Guitar Notes. TO ADVERTISE in Acoustic Guitar, the only publication of its kind read by 150,000 guitar players and makers every month,

call Sarah Hasselberg at (415) 485-6946, ext. 643, or e-mail her at sarah@stringletter.com.

AG SUBSCRIBERS Take care of all your subscription needs at our online Subscriber Services page (AcousticGuitar.com):

pay your bill, renew, give a gift, change your address, and get answers to any questions you may have about your subscription.

RETAILERS To find out how you can carry Acoustic Guitar magazine in your store, contact Alfred Publishing at (800) 292-6122.

Except where otherwise noted, all contents © 2012 Stringletter, David A. Lusterman, Publisher.

THE RECORD INDUSTRY may still be trying to figure out how to adapt to life in the cloud, but if our list of Essential CDs of 2011 is any indication, musicians have certainly not let the uncertainties of delivery and distri-bution deter them from the creative endeavor of assembling a clutch of songs into a 40–75 minute program of recorded music. Whether you download MP3s, purchase physical CDs (or even vinyl), or stream your music online, there is more great new recorded acoustic music to enjoy than ever.

The list of “don’t miss” albums that begins on page 55 was gleaned from Acoustic Guitar editors and regular reviewers, who have picked the best (or at least their favorites) of what was a bumper crop this year. And while there are numerous artists in a variety of styles to choose from, one did stand out, appearing on eight of ten reviewers’ Top Ten lists. So it’s safe to say that Gillian Welch, who also graces our cover this month, produced the Album of the Year in 2011. Welch and partner David Rawlings have been Acoustic Guitar favorites since their debut, Revival, appeared in 1996, and The Harrow and the Harvest proved well worth the eight-year wait since their last release. (Revival was itself highly anticipated by many who’d seen Welch and Rawlings onstage or heard Emmylou Harris’s 1995 recording of Welch’s “Orphan Girl.”)

Many of you will be reading this issue for the first time as 2011 wanes and 2012 waxes, so for those who are thinking that a new guitar might be a good way to kick off the new year, we’ve elicited some guitar-buying advice from those who’ve seen it all: the shop owners them-selves (“19 Shopping Tips,” page 66).

Enjoy the issue, SCOTT NYGAARD

EDITORIAL

Group Publisher and Editorial Director Dan Gabel

Editor Scott Nygaard

Managing Editor Mark Smith Senior Editor Teja Gerken Education Editor Dan Apczynski

Copy Editor Jan Perry Editorial Assistant Sarah Welsh

Contributing Editors Kenny Berkowitz, Andrew

DuBrock, David Hamburger, Steve James, Orville Johnson, Richard Johnston, Sean McGowan, Adam Perlmutter, Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, Rick Turner, Doug Young

DESIGN/PRODUCTION

Director of Design

and Production Barbara Summer Senior Designer Timothy Jang Production Manager Hugh O’Connor Production Designers Andy Djohan, Emily Fisher

Production Assistant Sam Lynch

ADMINISTRATION

Publisher David A. Lusterman

Office and

Systems Manager Peter Penhallow

ADVERTISING

Advertising Managers

(West) Adrianne Serna

(East) Cindi Kazarian

(Central) Claudia Campazzo

Advertising Operations

Manager Sarah Hasselberg

Advertising Assistant Kimberly Gleaves

FINANCE

Director of Accounting and Operations Anita Evans Bookkeeper Geneva Thompson

Accounting Clerk Susan Gleason Office Assistant Naia Nakai

MARKETING

Digital Development

Director Lyzy Lusterman Digital Publishing Manager Jason Sheen Subscriptions Jan Edwards-Pullin

Single Copy Sales Tom Ferruggia

CORRESPONDENCE

Mail PO Box 767

San Anselmo, CA 94979

Shipping 255 West End Ave. San Rafael, CA 94901

Editorial E-mail editors.ag@stringletter.com Subscriptions E-mail subs.ag@stringletter.com

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NOTATION

music notation key

Guitar tunings are given from the lowest (sixth) string to the highest (first) string; standard tun-ing is written as E A D G B E. Arrows underneath tuning notes indicate strings that are altered from standard tuning and whether they are tuned up or down.

In standard notation, small symbols next to notes refer to fretting-hand fingers: 1 for the index finger, 2 the middle, 3 the ring, 4 the little finger, and T the thumb. Picking-hand fingering is indicated by i for the index finger, m the middle, a the ring, c the little finger, and p the thumb.

In tablature, the horizontal lines represent the six strings, with the first string on top and the sixth on the bottom. The numbers refer to frets on the given string. Slur markings indicate hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides; 1/2 indicates a bend. The number next to the bend symbol shows how much the bend raises the pitch: 1⁄4 for a slight bend, 12 for a half step, 1 for a whole

step. Pick and strum direction are shown below the staff (

=downstroke,

=upstroke), and slashes in the notation and tablature (

!

) in dicate a strum through the previously played chord.

Chord diagrams show where the fingers go on the fretboard. Frets are shown horizontally. The top horizontal line represents the nut, unless a numeral to the right of the diagram marks a higher position (“5 fr.” means fifth fret). Strings are shown as vertical lines. The line on the far left represents the sixth (lowest) string, and the line on the far right represents the first (highest) string. Dots show where the fingers go, and thick horizontal lines indicate barres. Num-bers above the diagram are fretting-hand finger numbers. X indicates a string that should be muted or not played; 0 indicates an open string. Vocal tunes are sometimes written with a fully tabbed-out introduction and a vocal melody with chord diagrams for the rest of the piece. The tab intro is usually your indication of which strum or fingerpicking pattern to use in the rest

of the piece.

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Want to Know More About

Acoustic Guitar Notation?

To receive a complete guide to Acoustic

Guitar music by mail, send a

self-addressed, stamped envelope to Music Editor, Acoustic Guitar, PO Box 767, San Anselmo, CA 94979-0767. The complete guide can also be found online at

AcousticGuitar.com/notationguide.

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Saga Musical Instruments

P.O. Box 2841 • South San Francisco, CA 94080 Visit us at www.sagamusic.com

The Youngest of the Old-Timers...

The New Larry Sparks Signature Model Blueridge Guitar!

The Youngest of the Old-Timers...

The New Larry Sparks Signature Model Blueridge Guitar!

I

n the mid-1960s Ralph and Carter Stanley saw something in a boy from Lebanon, Ohio. From those early days with the Stanley Brothers, Larry Sparks has developed his own dynamic style while staying true to the traditions of that good old-time country music. Those powerful lead guitar breaks, paired with soulful vocals have endeared him to Bluegrass Music Lovers everywhere.

The Larry Sparks Signature Model Blueridge is based on the unique design elements of the guitar that is so closely identified with his career. The power and tradition are built in and the guitar, like Larry Sparks himself, is already being called “The Youngest of the Old-Timers!”

• Full-size black pickguard • Vintage 50s style waffle-back tuners • Certificate of Authenticity

BR-3060 Larry Sparks Signature Guitar:

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XLR inputs

Best-in-class microphones

Get a versatile set of recording tools in the amazingly compact Olympus LS-100 Linear PCM Recorder. Capture

the energy of any live performance with our most advanced, best-in-class microphones. Lay down clean, low-noise

tracks by plugging in through two XLR jacks. Then, build your songs like a pro using the LS-100’s two-channel

recording and eight-channel playback. The Olympus LS-100. Performs so well, you might give it a standing ovation.

For news, reviews, tips and tricks, visit olympusamericaaudioblog.com.

ABOUT THE ONLY THING IT WON’T DO FOR MUSICIANS IS STAND UP AND APPLAUD.

Eight-track recording

Metronome

Tuner

(12)

ACOUSTIC CLASSIC

© 1949 SONY/A

TV MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC. COPYRIGHT RENEWED

. ALL RIGHTS ADMINISTERED BY SONY/A

TV MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC,

8 MUSIC SQUARE

WEST

, NASHVILLE,

TN 37203. INTERNA

TIONAL COPYRIGHT SECURED

. ALL RIGHTS RESER

VED

. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION OF HAL LEONARD CORP

.

Hank Williams had an amazing number of hits in his short career, and while some were upbeat (like “Hey, Good Lookin’” and “Jambalaya”), many others, like “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” and “Cold, Cold Heart,” were decidedly downtrodden. None captured the iconic country image of a loner cowboy down on his luck better than “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Originally recorded in 1949, the track has been covered by a who’s who of singers over the years, including Willie Nelson, Al Green, Cassandra Wilson, and Johnny Cash. With just three chords (the two E7 chords are just E-chord embellishments), “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” proves that great songs can be simple.

Williams adds a percussive bounce to his accompaniment by strumming through muted strings on beats two and three, shown as X’s in the strum patterns below. He varies his strum pattern throughout the song, and you can too. For a busier strum, try the pattern shown at left—which alternates the scratch rhythm on beats two and three with upstroke strums on the high strings. When you want to lay back behind the vocals, play the simpler pattern shown at right.

In each verse, Williams inserts a quick E7 chord between the E and A chords by adding his little finger to the standard E shape (shown below in measure 4). He closes the song with a different E7 shape by simply lifting his ring finger off a standard E shape.

—ANDREW DUBROCK

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry

Words and music by Hank Williams

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The midnight train is whining low

B7 E

I’m so lonesome I could cry

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2. I’ve never seen a night so long

E7

When time goes crawling by

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The moon just went behind the clouds

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To hide its face and cry

(Pedal steel solo)

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3. Did you ever see a robin weep

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When leaves begin to die?

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That means he’s lost the will to live

B7 E

I’m so lonesome I could cry

(Fiddle solo)

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And as I wonder where you are

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For decades, acoustic guitarists have dreamed of the perfect

acoustic tone that flows from an incredible guitar and that sounds

the same on stage, amplified, as it does unplugged in an intimate

setting. Now, Breedlove Guitar’s extraordinary acoustic tone has

joined with L.R. Baggs’s Anthem TRU-VOICE Technology to create

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Introducing The Breedlove Voice.

breedloveguitars.com

FEATURING PROPRIETARY TRU-VOICE TECHNOLOGY

Experience Breedlove

(14)

ACOUSTIC CLASSIC

The Parting Glass

Traditional, arranged by Danny Carnahan

See video at AcousticGuitar.com/

partingglass

A humble suggestion for your next acoustic guitar concert: Close your set with “The Parting Glass,” a traditional Irish tune that has over the centuries (yes, centuries) marked the end of countless performances.

The music shown below, borrowed from Danny Carnahan’s Irish Songs

for Guitar, follows a single verse from beginning to end. To save room,

we’ve omitted the guitar part for the second and fourth lines (measures 5–8 and 13–16), which can be easily played by adapting the eighth-note pattern from measures 1–4 to the chord diagrams shown above the lyr-ics. Keep an eye on the third measure in each line. This measure has two extra beats, which can take a second to wrap your ear around. Continue

picking a steady stream of eighth notes throughout (while watching out for the occa-sional half- or dotted-quarter-note chord) and you’ll be fine.

The third line (measures 9–12) features a few key differences that set it apart from the rest of the song. Measures 9, 10, and 12 echo the Dsus2–D movement that first shows up in measure 4. Measure 11 includes a quick fifth-string walk down from C to A against droning C and G notes in the upper voices—the pinch patterns required to pull this off are not diffi-cult, but they can come as a bit of a surprise amid the rolling arpeggios in the rest of the arrangement.

—DAN APCZYNSKI

© 2004 STRING LETTER PUBLISHING. ALL RIGHTS RESER

VED .

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(16)

PRIVATE LESSON

to ten years of studies with legendary guitar teacher Ted Greene and, more recently, to studying classical guitar with Emre Sabuncuo-glu at the Los Angeles Guitar Academy. I talked with Goldenberg last August prior to a gig at the Sleeping Lady Café in Fairfax, Cali-fornia.

You have a great way of combining melodic lines with interesting chords that include open strings. Could you demonstrate some of the voicings you use?

I like to use open strings, but not in the tradi-tional way. I would use an open string that wasn’t the root or the fifth. For example, I might use E if I was playing in the key of C [Example 1]. I like to use non-consonant

drones when I can.

There you’re putting the drone on the top, rather than the bottom.

You can put it anywhere you like. It’s a great sound if you have it on the bottom [Example 2],

and you can put it in the middle, like I’m doing here with an A note [Example 3].

A lot of times I’ll ignore what the drone is doing, and I’ll play other harmonies. Whether the note fits in the chord or not is not that important to me, especially if I’m moving through [chords]. Let’s say E is the drone note, and I play a C and then a Bb [Example 4]. You

could say that’s Lydian, so it’s not a particu-larly bad choice, but then [G#] doesn’t fit, but

it does fit if I’m going here [G]. I like to find drones, inner, external, bottom, top; it’s part of my playing. It can be like the glue that holds everything together, especially because my pieces are designed to have improv sec-tions in them. Sometimes I’ll go out on a limb, and I’ll use a drone to take me out and bring me back in.

Another key element to your tunes is that you’re constantly revoicing the chords.

I have a restless mind. Here’s an example GROWING UP IN THE CHICAGO AREA, guitarist Mark Goldenberg

learned piano and French horn as a child, studied composition at the Chicago Musical College, and eventually moved to Los Angeles in the mid-’70s, where he got gigs in the ensuing years playing with Al Stewart, Peter Frampton, Linda

Ron-stadt, Willie Nelson, and Bonnie Raitt, among others. Since 1994, he’s been a regular member of Jackson Browne’s band, and at the time of this interview, he was getting ready to hit the road with Madeleine Peyroux. Though Gold-enberg’s main focus is on his work as

a sideman, he is also a solo finger-style performer whose self-released album of original guitar tunes (Mark

Goldenberg, markgoldenberg.com)

hovers somewhere between the work of Ralph Towner and Marc Ribot in its quirky beauty, and it could serve as a study of how to use engaging chords in a solo fin-gerstyle context. His endless ap-petite for musical knowledge led

Creative Chord Voicings

Sideman extraordinaire Mark Goldenberg on using

open-string drones and reharmonization to spice up chord voicings.

By Teja Gerken

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This excerpt from the opening of Mark Goldenberg’s tune “Unanswered” is an example of his use of moving chord voicings. Goldenberg frets the F# on the first string in the second measure with the upper

part of his index finger, which also plays the C in the bass. Some of the close-interval chords have wide stretches and may take a bit of practice.

lick

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See video of the music examples at AcousticGuitar.com/

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18 AcousticGuitar.com ACOUSTIC GUITAR February 2012

PRIVATE LESSON

[Example 5]. I wrote this tune that’s all

varia-tions. The first time, it’s an E triad over a C bass, but it really comes from an A melodic-minor sound [Example 6]. The second time I

play through it, I add this [Example 7]; you

can’t give this chord a name. Then there is a third variation of the same melody where I add a low E as a pedal [Example 8], and then

instead of Am, I use Fmaj7 [measure 2]. Next

time around, I play the melody with a G pedal as much as I can. So that’s an example of using the same melodic material and finding new ways to harmonize beneath it.

What did you learn from studying with Ted Greene?

I studied with Ted for about ten years, and I have a loose-leaf folder about three inches

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| www.CollingsGuitars.com | (1) -777

Pete Huttlinger and

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PRIVATE LESSON

thick of lessons. We covered everything from Baroque harmony to tunes, arrangements, to just harmony. I had a lesson once where he wrote out “major seventh, minor seventh, dominant seventh, minor seventh flat 5, di-minished, augmented,” the main chord quali-ties that we use. Then he said, “Here’s your lesson, Mark: go from the closest voicing to the widest voicings on each of these qualities, on every inversion of the chord, in every key.” I came back in a year; it took forever to do it! But it was a really great way to learn how you can build chords. For example, here’s a gar-den variety Gmaj7 [Example 9]. Ted was big

on the idea of “voice displacement.” When he’d play a chord like that, he wouldn’t say “that’s a chord,” he’d say “that’s four voices playing a chord.” He’d say “OK, Mark, take

one of the voices and take it down an octave,” so now you have this chord [Example 10].

Or you could play it [with open strings] [Example 11]. Then you could learn your

chord scales with this inversion [Example 12],

which brings you back to reharmonizing chords, which is invaluable when you start to work on melodies.

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WhAt he PlAYS

nFLATTOP STEEL-STRINGS: Takamine TF740FS with stock Cool Tube electronics (live). Late ’40s Gibson J-45 (studio).

nNYLON-STRINGS: Kenny Hill Signature Series with Indian rosewood back and sides and sandwich top (cedar, Nomex, and spruce). 1968 José Ramírez flamenco. 1966 Gibson Richard Pick model. nARCHTOPS: 2010 Erich Solomon Phidelity (European spruce top, mahogany back and sides). 1933

Gibson L-5.

nAMPLIFICATION: Schertler Unico amp. L.R. Baggs Venue DI. Strymon blueSky reverb. Malekko analog delay. Electro-Harmonix Freeze pedals.

nSTRINGS: D’Addario light-gauge (.012–.053) on the steel-strings. Hard-tension Pro Arté on the nylon-strings.

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NEW GEAR

C.F. MARTIN AND CO. is arguably the best-known steel-string guitar manufacturer in the world. But it’s a fair guess that when most folks picture a Martin, it’s not the diminutive 0 size that springs to mind. Truth be told, however, these little guitars hold a special place in the company’s history. First introduced in the 1850s, the 0 was Martin’s first true concert-size instrument, despite the fact that it is so small by today’s standards that it is often misidentified as a “parlor” guitar. That term, however, more accurately belongs to instruments of the period that were even smaller than the 0 and that have shorter scales. In its day, the 0-size was considered a big guitar. The times, they have a-changed, eh? But the mighty little 0 has always had its devotees, most notably, perhaps, in recent years Joan Baez and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson.

Martin didn’t offer its original 12-fret 0-size models for many years, but recently the company updated and reissued the design as part of its Vintage series in the form of an 0-28VS, which we had a chance to check out.

12-Fret Style 28

With a 12-fret body that measures 1312 inches

across the lower bout, the 0-28VS is over two inches narrower than a standard, 14-fret dread-nought. But the body is only a fraction of an inch shorter than a dread, and the placement of the bridge—in the middle of the lower bout rather than toward the waist of the guitar—is often considered to be the best position for producing a loud, clear, and highly articulate voice. With their

wide fingerboard and string spacing, 12-fret Martins have been perennial favorites of

finger-style players, and the 0-28VS offers true vintage-style dimensions in its 178-inch

nut and 2516-inch string spacing at the

saddle.

Of course the number “28” in the Martin model designation indicates that

the guitar is built with rosewood back and sides and a spruce top. Other typical style-28 features include herring-bone top purfling and a distinctive “5-9-5 band” rosette. And, do you want to hear a fun fact that is truly heartbreaking? When it hit the stores in the 1850s it was called a “28” because it cost $28.

A Thing of Beauty

The russet-hued solid East Indian rosewood back and sides and gold-toned solid Sitka spruce top of this 0-28VS are finished in “polished gloss,” but the neck is satin-finished. That’s the best of all possible worlds, by my lights. The wood grain on the back and sides is wide and quite straight, while the top has quite a lot of cross-grain and a bit of a dark spot above the soundhole, which might have been considered a flaw in previous decades. But then again, we all wanted narrow-grain “pound cake” spruce tops back then, too. Thankfully, these days sonic supe-riority generally trumps visual perfection.

The V in the guitar’s model name is for “vintage,” of course, and while this guitar doesn’t have the über-retro features of Martin’s Authentic line (such as hide-glue construction and a non-adjustable neck) the 0-28VS does have a lovely old-style pyramid bridge. What looks like a by-the-book glued-in saddle, however, is actually a drop-in, an improvement that allows for easy adjustments and the installation of UST pickups. And unlike its forebears, it has an adjustable truss rod.

Chunky Neck, Muscular Tones

Our review 0-28VS arrived set up with light-gauge phosphor-bronze strings and

at

a

glance

SPECS: 12-fret 0-size body. Solid Sitka spruce top. Solid East Indian rosewood back and sides. Scalloped X-bracing. Select hardwood neck with dovetail joint. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. Bone nut and saddle. 24.9-inch scale. 178-inch

nut width. 2516-inch string spacing at saddle.

Polished gloss body finish. Satin neck finish. Slotted headstock with nickel Waverly tuners. Light-gauge Martin Lifespan strings. Made in USA. Available in left-handed version.

PRICE: $4,699 list/$3,599 street.

MAKER: C.F. Martin and Co.: (800) 633-2060; martinguitar.com. See the video review at AcousticGuitar.com/ newgear

Martin 0-28VS

A reissue of Martin’s classic rosewood small-body impresses

with vintage vibe, modern features, and muscular tone.

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medium-low action. Having the action just slightly higher than dead low made sense to me, considering that it’s a short-scale guitar with a rather soft fretting-hand feel already, and that many players will want to get full tone and volume out of a box this small. The modified V-style neck will not be every-one’s cup of tea, but I found that little extra bit of angle gave my left hand some added mechanical advantage, especially on a neck that starts wide at the nut and gets even wider as you march up the fingerboard. Small-body, 12-fret guitars have always been a favorite of fingerstylers, and in that realm the 0-28VS truly shines. While bigger-bodied guitars excel in single-string play and

really light up under the sonic saturation of strumming, this sweet little guitar has such precise articulation that it felt downright impolite to strum it with a flatpick.

Martin Mojo

It’s probably a ridiculous thing to say, but this 0-28VS is a very Martiny Martin. It’s got that Martin mojo, even at HO scale. The distinctive overtone stack that is typical of the brand infuses this guitar in spades. (I wish I could concisely articulate better what the devil that means, but I’m certain Martin aficionados will catch my drift.)

There’s not a lot of hard science to back up claims about how guitars sound to

indi-vidual players. It’s a very subjective subject, if you’ll pardon the tortured syntax. But it’s always been my largely unscientific vibe that on a slot-head guitar the steep break angle over the nut contributes considerable down-ward pressure and improves the overall energy transfer of vibrating strings to the top. Ditto with a neck that’s got some heft and mass to it. For its size, this is one heavy little puppy. Even though the 0 model itself is scaled-down, the body woods are the same thickness as you’ll find on dreadnoughts.

Raw Power, Rich Harmonics

The 0-28VS is remarkably loud, with bell-like overtones even in the bass registers. In fact, on first meeting I felt that the combination of ringy-ness and massive sustain made this a bit of a runaway guitar. But that’s the kind of problem I like. I vastly prefer a guitar that gives you too much of any important sonic feature to one where there’s just no “there” there. While fingerpicking, I found that judicious application of palm-muting and left-hand damping helped rein things in, but while flatpicking or strumming, this guitar was sort of “stuck on 11.”

With this kind of raw firepower and such a rich harmonic stack available, there was nothing for it but to swing the 0-28VS into a whole slew of alternate tunings. Even though I’d normally tune a short-scale guitar up instead of down (for example, to E A E A C# E rather then D G D G B D, or to E B E A B E instead of D A D G A D), this guitar handled dropped tunings with much less flabbiness on the bass strings than I would have ever guessed. I’d be remiss if I didn’t note, however, that as clear as the trebles are, and as rich and surprisingly deep as the tones are, in any tuning, capoed on any fret, played fingerstyle or with a flatpick, the sound of this little Martin has a sort of small-bodied tankiness, an attenuation of the extreme low end, that some folks will find immensely appealing, but that others might find too far from their expectations of what a steel-string flattop should sound like.

12-Fret Heaven

It’s really small. It’s a 12-fret. It’s loaded with character, and IMHO, it’s a jewel. Tone, volume, vintage vibe, herringbone, and heri-tage, all in a guitar you don’t have to stand on an apple crate to play.

ag

Stevie Coyle (steviecoyle.com) is a San

Francisco Bay Area–based guitarist, vocalist, and teacher. He tours nationally and internationally.

NEW GEAR

a mellow blend

Escape the expected. Experience graphite.

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“... LOUDER

than uncoated strings. ”

DRAGON SKIN strings have a proprietary patent pending coating from

K3 Technology Coating that makes them the first coated strings

that “sound as good or beeer than uncoated strings.”

Players comments include:

“the first coated string that sounds louder than uncoated strings”

“I’m not complaining, I just dont understand how a coated string

can sound beeer, and louder than my uncoated strings. Doesn’t that violate

some law of nature?

”you managed to make the first coated strings that definitely do not sound muddy.”

All six (6) strings are coated for improved performance and corrosion resistance.

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NEW GEAR

Traynor AM Custom Amp

Powerful, feature-laden, multiple-input amp

with woody and warm sound.

By Adam Perlmutter

IT USED TO BE that electric guitarists had all the fun when it came to amps and effects while acoustic guitarists had a paucity of amplification options. However, acoustic ampli-fication has become as sophisticated as electric, and there is now some awesome equipment designed for the acoustic guitarist who wants to shape his or her sound or be heard above the din of an electric band. An example of that is the AM Custom by Traynor, a Canadian company that has been in the busi-ness of making fine amps for nearly 40 years. The flagship of Traynor’s acoustic series, this 225-watt all-in-one powerhouse has the brawn and versatility for nearly any context, is easy to cart around, and, most importantly, possesses a very fine sound.

Impressive Construction, Outstanding Sound

When I removed the AM Custom from its shipping box I was pleased not only by its compactness relative to its power—at 1212 by 20 by 13

inches, the amp weighs 35 pounds—but by its handsome looks. The oxblood cabinet covering, golden control panel, and crème and black knobs are very nice cosmetic touches. And with a metal speaker grille and ample corner bumpers, the amp feels solid and roadworthy.

Containing high-grade glass epoxy circuit boards, low-noise metal film resistors, and gold-plated jack contacts, the innards are similarly top-notch.

At first blush, the top-mounted control panel, which contains more than two dozen knobs and about half as many plugs, was over-whelming. But once I plugged a Martin DC-28E with Fishman Aura electronics in to the 14-inch jack of

the first channel, operating the amp was intuitive—perfect for operating on the fly in a live context. With the AM Custom’s tone controls—bass, lo-mid, hi-mid, and treble—set flat and its master volume at three, the sound is instantly rewarding, clean and clear, thanks in part to the eight-inch woofer and dual neodymium dome tweeters.

The basic tone is woody and warm and the amp does an excellent job of capturing picking- and fretting-hand nuances on everything from delicate fingerpicking to forceful strumming; it sounds just as good for Nick Drake–style fingerpicking in alternate tunings and Neil Young– approved bashing in E minor. And the EQ section allows for maximum tonal versatility. By boosting the highs I was able to add a stridency-free shimmering quality to some ringing open arpeggios and got a laser-like edge on some single-note lines in the upper register while retaining

some woodiness in the sound. By mini-mizing the highs I got a sound befitting more subdued accompaniment styles and even coaxed from the Martin an almost archtop-like sound perfect for jazz soloing.

Like any acoustic amp, the AM Custom is not without certain limitations. It has a wide spectrum and a realistic acoustic sound yet doesn’t quite sound 100 percent pure. And it is no stranger to feed-back at higher volumes. But I found this problem could be attenuated easily enough by adjusting the feedback notch on each channel, lowering the bass, or simply positioning the Martin farther from the amp. Feedback notwithstanding, it was clear that the amp will deliver ample volume for contexts ranging from a solo appearance in subway station to an elec-tric band setting in a large club.

Versatile Effects and

Input Capabilities

The AM Custom boasts 16 different built-in 24-bit digital effects, from a hall reverb to a compressor, handily configured in two separate units—one for channels one and two and the other for channel three. These effects will not suit every player, but a judi-cious application of one of the three types of reverb—hall, room, or plate—can add a See the

video review at AcousticGuitar.com/

newgear

at

a

glance

SPECS: Three input channels with separate four-band equalizers and feedback notch filter controls. 225 watts. Additional auxiliary RCA CD/ MP3 input. 48 volts phantom power. Eight-inch woofer with two-inch voice coil. Two two-inch neodymium dome tweeters. 24-bit digital effects with footswitch. XLR pre-EQ DI output with ground lift. Post-EQ line output. Solid plywood cabinet with all-metal grille. 35 pounds. Made in Canada.

PRICE: $1,399 list/$1,119 street. MAKER: Traynor: (716) 297-2920; traynoramps.com.

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nice hint of depth in even the most tradi-tional setting. More radical effects include a harmonizer, which adds intervals of an octave or a fifth, down or up, and a rotary speaker, which re-creates an electric– organ–like pitch-shifting effect. While all of the effects sound lush and natural, more intrepid guitarists will wish they had more control over them. Each effect is adjustable only in terms of wetness and, via the modify knob, a single parameter— for example, decay time on the reverb. Also, it would be nice if a footswitch were included for the effects.

While the AM Custom has a low-noise balanced XLR out for sending your amplified sound to a PA system, singer- songwriters will appreciate that the amp itself can function as a PA system, able to amplify guitar and vocals at the same time. Channel three contains the 48 volts of phantom power required to use a condenser microphone. Vocals sound very good with a Shure SM58 mic plugged into this channel, especially when glazed with a touch of reverb, and the EQ and gain controls help achieve a perfect blend with the guitar signal.

For performers who incorporate prere-corded material in live performances, the AM Custom has an RCA input independent of the three channels that can be used to plug in a device like a CD or MP3 player, with the signal arriving at the amp directly before the master volume control. I tried this largely noiseless feature in conjunc-tion with an iPod (and the required cable converter) and found that it makes a handy and fun practice tool for jamming with recordings.

Powerful, Feature-Laden Amp

Not every acoustic guitarist has complex needs when it comes to amplification, but for those who do, Traynor’s AM Custom has a boatload of features: three separate channels with dedicated EQ sections, two digital effects processors, phantom power, and much more. At 225 watts, the amp has an ample amount of headroom for medium-size clubs, and it can even be used as a PA system in smaller venues. Its super-solid construction and premium components will ensure that it survives the rigors of the road, and its outstanding sound will please musician and audience

alike.

ag

Contributing editor Adam Perlmutter tran-scribes, arranges, and engraves music for numerous publications as well as Jammit, a new music app.

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* Please note: Apple products are excluded from this warranty, and other restrictions may apply. Please visit www.sweetwater.com/warranty for complete details.

Martin GPCPA4KOA Performing Artist

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NEW GEAR

IN THE STORES

1

Veillette Cutaway Acoustic Bass

Acoustic-electric bass guitar. 34-inch scale. D-Tar electronics. Many custom wood options (spruce top and maple back and sides shown). Available in four-and five-string versions. Starts at $4,380. veilletteguitars.com.

2

Recording King ROM-06-CFE4

Acoustic-electric OM guitar. Solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped bracing. Mahogany back and sides. 25.4-inch scale. Fishman electronics with onboard tuner. $359.99 street. recordingking.com.

3

Peavey XPort

USB audio interface. Converts ¼-inch guitar output to USB signal for computer recording. Includes Reaper and audio recording software and Peavey ReValver amp modeling software. Headphone and line outputs. $60. peavey.com.

4

Fostex AR-4i

Audio interface for Apple iPhone. Three inputs for external microphones (two cardioid mics included). LED meters for input level monitoring. Input gain control. Powered by two AAA batteries for up to ten hours of use. Tripod mount allows use for video. $120 street. fostexinternational.com.

5

Planet Waves Ultimate

Support Bundle

Several popular guitar accessories in one package. Includes Ultimate Support GS-55 guitar stand, Planet Waves Mini Headstock Tuner, ten-pack of picks, and one set of D’Addario EJ-16 strings. $79.99. planetwaves.com.

3

1

2

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Boutique Quality,

Stunning Value

Case included with

every Wechter guitar.

* Travel Series guitars come with deluxe padded gig bags.

DN-8142 Dreadnought Select Rosewood

The Wechter DN-8142 Dreadnought Select Rosewood

combines a

solid spruce top with solid rosewood back and

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Also available with solid mahogany back and sides.

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PATHMAKER SERIES SOLID BODY SERIES RESONATOR SERIES SELECT SERIES NASHVILLE-TUNED SERIES TRAVEL SERIES

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www.wechterguitars.com • (260) 407-3836

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